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The Top Technologies of 2023

The thing many tech or other lists typically miss is the why, the so what, or the how one thing on the list relates to any or all of the others. Writers can be forgiven for the lack of connections given that while many people think of IT as generic, the reality is that each organization is unique in some way. Therefore, the application of IT to create organization benefits must also be unique. So why try to connect dots for readers? If that feels like an excuse to just throw a bunch of random technologies together in one article, it sort of is. Unfortunately, that is the way many Top X writers function and the reason I rarely guess at the Top X technology today, or any other day. By the time someone reads my list, the technology will change. That is the wonderful world of Information Technology we live in today.

Were I to consider the top technologies of 2023, now that the end year of the year is approaching, the list would begin with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Why AI? Today AI has so much focus from everyone and sort of in every business, non-profit, and government sector. Saying AI is on a Top X technology list is easy right now. However, the so what of AI making a list today is the new ways AI is being deployed for everything from Mental Health assistance to information security decision making, as in should that data packet be allowed into the secure network segment?

Another technology that continues to live in the 2023 news cycle is Blockchain. While the news cycle portrays the evils of a technology that seems to have taken so much from so many, as with any technology the outcomes are determined by the people who use it. Technology itself is benign. Why Blockchain? Applied for good, as in outside the world of cryptocurrency farming, markets, and exchanges, Blockchain technology is a great security, record keeping, and transaction validation mechanism that has been deployed by some of the largest logistics organizations in the world. Just consider the number of touches required to move, track, pay for, and reconcile the touch screen panel in your new laptop or tablet. If you are thinking any number less than 20 or so, rethink.

Now consider that panel with one blockchain ID to allow every manufacturer, stocker, shipper, wholesaler, reseller, installer, end customer and every other organization in the supply chain to transfer ownership, pay, reconcile, and track that panel in one transaction. Then also consider that every one of those events is stored in the blockchain ID record to create a complete history of the device from the first plastic pour to the end of life recycle event. Imagine the data analytics that might occur for that lifecycle. Then imagine what AI might do with that data, the creative ownership programs that might emerge for first, second, and third owner cycles, etc.

A third technology to pay attention to in 2023 is really more of a category or function, Management. With the development and deployment of cloud everything, containers, APIs, performance monitoring, SaaS monitoring, and other tools that help humans understand and control these systems, managing the tools has become a technological enhanced effort today. As this technology category further matures vendors will seek ways to apply AI to augment human decision-making and given the security audit requirements of some managed systems, manufacturers will also add blockchain authentication, validation, and record keeping. The blockchain will ensure any change made by an AI management system becomes permanent in the chain with no way to edit or erase the event.

The fourth technology thing in 2023 is best described as Technology 2033, 2043, 2053 and beyond. This technology thing is the move from linear thinking about how to just make something toward how to sustainably make and use something. In the IT world that could mean how to make that panel for your laptop or tablet in such a way that the entire process remains carbon neutral or carbon negative. Then how to power that device throughout its many lifecycles and meet the same carbon goals. Here the application of blockchain IDs and record keeping could track every panel use, ownership change, power source, and so on. Then AI driven management systems could determine optimum on / off times, guide flexible power grid participation, and ultimately enforce carbon, security, or any other management system rules.

Of course, technology sustainability is not limited to things you can touch. It also means finding new ways to reuse code to accomplish multiple outcomes and to stop wasting time, money, and energy for code created a thousand ways to do the same or similar IT thing. The open sourcing and extension of code libraries into AI training data repositories will support faster outcome delivery from software systems, even if AI may not piece code together the same way you would. Moreover, as the AI system evaluates feedback it could improve code assembly sequences so that version 9,497 is better than anything a human coder might imagine; and since AI can evaluate efficiency at microprocessor speeds, that version might exist only moments after version 1.0.

Moving to the number five IT thing for 2023. That of course has to be 5G. Much the way AI, blockchain, management tools, processes, people, and sustainability are connected in this list, 5G offers an enabling platform that lives between hardware, software, people, processes, and the intelligence that supports them all. 5G is agnostic, meaning it can work with just about any other technology. Moreover, the distributed nature of 5G can support intelligent network allocations and data distribution to speed outcomes for end users while conserving energy by reusing data rather than accessing it once then flushing it.

While 5G, just like every technological thing on this list, needs more time to mature and for people to imagine more creative ways to use it. in 2023 5G is the infrastructure that shows how all technology evolves. Moreover, it is the technology that also shows enough flexibility to support unique outcomes for each organization, which makes it nearly generic enough to end up on any Top X list in 2023. However, it is on this list because 5G enables all of the technological things above and does so at every level from corporate infrastructure to the Internet, to edge devices, and end user interfaces. One other thing to take away from 5G closing out this list, it is the one thing that literally connects all the others.

Dr. Mike Lewis serves as Chief Information Officer, EVP of Informatics, Security & Technology for Trillium Health Resources, a managed-care organization serving more than 350,000 members in North Carolina. He earned his Doctor of Management degree from George Fox University and is a former MBA adjunct professor at Maryhurst University. Mike has worked in the IT field for more than 25 years with stints at IBM, Merisel, and Dell.


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